A conservative political group running Web ads that showed U.S. journalist James Foley just before he was beheaded by Islamic militants has seemingly taken down the controversial spots, according to liberal web site MediaMatters.org.
The ads, funded by Secure America Now, featured a CNN broadcast showing Foley kneeling in an orange jumpsuit right before he was beheaded by a fighter with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
However, the ads are no longer on the group’s YouTube page and links to the commercials from an Oct. 15 press release announcing them state they have been “removed by the user,” Media Matters says.
Secure America Now, who’s website does not feature a phone number, did not respond to an emailed request for comment.
The identical ads targeted vulnerable Democrats, including Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (N.H.), Mary Landrieu (La.), Mark Udall (Colo.) and Mark Pryor (Ark.). The outcome of those races could determine which party controls the Senate next year.
The ad targeting Shaheen said:
“While radical Islamists threaten to attack America, and millions cross our border undetected, President Obama and Sen. Shaheen have done nothing. Call now and tell Sen. Shaheen to stop ignoring our border crisis. Tell her to secure our border now.”
In an interview with New England Cable News on Thursday, Foley’s parents condemned the ads.
“I think it is deplorable, and there should be an apology,” his father said.
“It makes me very sad that people would use the brutality of our son’s death for their own political purposes,” his mother Diane Foley said on NECN.
“The image has appeared around the world millions of times,” Secure America Now President Allen Roth told NECN. “We meant no harm. We just took an image that is in public domain, and we used it.”